Manufacturers’ Woes-What manufacturers are concerned about ?

Covid-19 has affected every single stakeholder in the gems and jewellery industry. As demand for jewellery remains subdued in India, jewellery manufacturers worry about receiving payments from retailers, paying their staff salaries and managing overheads and the most important of all, getting back their karigars who have migrated back to their hometowns says Vijetha Rangabashyam

Post By : IJ News Service On 15 June 2020 12:01 PM

As there was zero buying from mid March up until end of May (almost), the jewellery industry in India has been going through a surfeit of challenges. The ripple effect of lockdown has led many manufacturers to worry about cash flow and getting their mostskilled workers back from their villages. The jewellery industry as we all know is highly skill oriented and every artisan is well trained for several years. There is high possibility that artisans may not return from their villages for a good 4 months. How will manufacturers meet demand if that happens? Retailers on the other hand are also finding it difficult to make payments as they are not making any sale, which in turn is putting manufacturers in a tough spot.

Will workers come back from their villages?
Anand Shah, Anand Shah Jewels

The biggest challenge is related to workers who have gone back to their villages. The challenge is to get karigars back, when the lockdown is lifted. The good karigars, who have specific skill set have to return in time to complete orders. The really talented ones are quite irreplaceable. We may have best of the designers, but ultimately we need the karigars to implement the design. Many of them are from Kolkata, their families too will not want them to come back for the next three months.They have just reached their villages and many are still on their way.

The good karigars, who have specific skill set have to return in time to complete orders. The really talented ones are quite irreplaceable. We may have best of the designers, but ultimately we need the karigars to implement the design.

 

Payments from retailers have to be recovered
Deepak Jain, Vijay Gems and Jewellery

The biggest worry is that business is at a standstill. Payments from retailers need to be recovered. A lot of money is pending. Business has not happened and even for orders delivered in December last year and January this year, payments would have been recovered in March, but because the lockdown was announced and retailers had no business thereafter all the money is stuck up. It is a huge loss for the business. We too have to pay our suppliers and staff salaries, and because of no incoming cash it is difficult to run the business. Everybody needs to arrange their finances through banks, and ensure that money comes into the system and the wheels start moving again. The business all over needs a push start

A lot of money is pending. Business has not happened and even for orders delivered in December last year and January this year, payments would have been recovered in March, but because the lockdown was announced and retailers had no business thereafter all the money is stuck up. It is a huge loss for the business.

 

 

Attracting customers into the retail market as everything depends on that
Umang Mehta, Laxmi Jewellery Export

Attracting customers into the retail market. Once retail market starts moving, money starts flowing. Getting workers back to the factory is also an immediate concern. We are partially operating at 20 – 30 per cent of capacity. We have to follow strict guidelines. We have to instruct them, we have to take care of them, and help them accustom themselves to wear masks, observe high hygiene standards. It is unpredictable, as to when markets will open. We hope that they open soon.

Attracting customers into the retail market. Once retail market starts moving, money starts flowing.

It takes a lot of time to train artisans and I might lose them
Dheeraj Menda, Studio Rêves

Losing my team is a matter of worry at the moment. People have gone home – to their villages. Many may not return in time, when the markets open. People may choose not to return. They may find some occupation closer home. For a manufacturer to start work without all the artisans in place is very difficult. Just 30 per cent of staff may return, and that is going to be a big challenge. The biggest capital in the ‘high skill’ industry is the karigar. It’s a different kind of situation. He gets around Rs 25,000- Rs 30,000 and they have to sustain themselves in Mumbai. It takes a lot of time to create these karigars – groom them, etc. We have to hope that the aspiration levels for them won’t disappear, and they would still want to return to their original lives.

As for liquidity, it is more about delayed payments – it is a problem about money not moving. Money has to start changing hands; that is when things will start moving ahead. As retailers don’t have business, they are not releasing payments to their suppliers. If they don’t release this payment—we manufacturers will not have the money to pay our overheads.

For a manufacturer to start work without all the artisans in place is very difficult. Just 30 per cent of staff may return, and that is going to be a big challenge. The biggest capital in the ‘high skill’ industry is the karigar.

 

How do we meet export demands if migrant labourers won’t return?
Vijay Chordia, Valentine Jewellery

We are concerned about our export orders, as to how they will move. It certainly looks promising and is not as bad as what we thought it would be. Orders have started coming in gradually. India will benefit from the whole mindset against China. With a little help from the government, we should make use of this opportunity. The bigger problem is with migrant labourers. Even if we get orders and they don’t come back in time, we will be in a fix. We are not sure when they will come back and whether they will come back. Sitapura Gem and Jewellery Assocaition has proposed to Rajasthan government to utilize the resources in the state as workers from other states are coming back to Rajasthan. If they plan not to go back, they don’t have jobs. So we have suggested that we can provide job opportunities to these workers. We will train them and create our own labour.

Sitapura Gem and Jewellery Assocaition has proposed to Rajasthan government to utilize the resources in the state as workers from other states are coming back to Rajasthan. If they plan not to go back, they don’t have jobs. So we have suggested that we can provide job opportunities to these workers. We will train them and create our own labour.

Payment cycle has to start moving
Viral Kothari, Kosha Fine Jewels

My biggest worry is recovering payments from our retailers. We are into smaller ticket items. Slowly cash will start moving, maybe three-six months down the line, money will start trickling in. I have about 150 workers working for me, I have to make payments for the diamonds. The payment cycle has to start moving. Previously we used to give gold on credit, to good retailers – gold payments should be made COD or in advance. But no one gives us gold on credit. Unanimously we should make it mandatory to deliver gold on COD basis.

The Indian economy could be slow. If laws are simplified by the government, India will recover faster. As a lot of bans are imposed on China and Japan, this could be a golden ticket for India. Indian laws should be amended to make it conducive to do business. The government should give more incentive and subsidies. This will be a
huge impetus to Indian manufacturers.

The payment cycle has to start moving. Previously we used to give gold on credit, to good retailers – gold payments should be made COD or in advance. But no one gives us gold on credit. Unanimously we should make it mandatory to deliver gold on COD basis

What if the situation worsens in Mumbai where a major number of our business associates are situated ?
Vikas Mehta, Achal Jewels

Most of our workers have gone to their native places. They will return in about two months time. Currently, we are completing pending orders, which were placed before lockdown was announced. Some export orders are also there. In case of jadau jewellery, requirement of gold is comparatively lesser than in plain gold jewellery. Jadau has a select set of buyers, who will not budge from their preference primarily because of traditional reasons and secondly because it is a rare art. It is an integral part of Indian heritage, therefore Indian jewellery retailers from different parts of the world specially order our jadau pieces. Jadau work cannot be modified totally, small alterations are possible, but major changes in design and layout of precious stones is not possible, as it will alter the whole piece and it may not hold its high aesthetic value. Therefore, our buyers usually never ask us for major modifications. We have a select set of customers who always buy from us. They never go elsewhere, because of years of trust in the quality of our products.

The only thing that bothers me currently is if the situation worsens in some important parts of the country like Mumbai for instance, where a major number of our business associates are situated, how will it affect business? I think we need to be prepared for a certain delay in working, as Mumbai may not open anytime soon, and that may affect cash inflow coming in from the commercial capital. It is a matter of time, and when work in Mumbai is back to normal things will be smooth. I hope our artisans return in time, so that we can complete our orders. Most of our business runs on credit, so I know, once we deliver the goods, money will come in. With time, I believe consumer demand may shift towards preferring lightweight jewellery, because of lesser disposable income.

Jadau work cannot be modified totally, small alterations are possible, but major changes in design and layout of precious stones is not possible, as it will alter the whole piece and it may not hold its high aesthetic value. Therefore, our buyers usually never ask us for major modifications

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